Westport High School's hands-on NAIDOC celebration

Culture in motion: Students pictured with Steve Donovan from left: Flynn Sinclair, Corey Temple, Dorrell O'Brien, Billy Gleeson and Daniel Bendall from Westport High School.

Culture in motion: Students pictured with Steve Donovan from left: Flynn Sinclair, Corey Temple, Dorrell O'Brien, Billy Gleeson and Daniel Bendall from Westport High School.

NAIDOC celebrations were the focus for Westport High School's on Wednesday last week.

Guest speaker Wayne Anderson, who is the Aboriginal Education and Engagement Advisor at District Office, focused on this year's theme of Serving Country - Centenary and Beyond.

And, spoke about the service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island men and women in all conflicts since the Boer War in 1899.

Though these people were treated with equal respect during their time in the services, that respect usually vanished when they returned to civilian life.

Arlene McInherny, who teaches Aboriginal Language at TAFE also spoke and gave the appreciative audience a quick lesson in the Gathang language which is the local Birpai language.

She introduced herself in Gathang and by the end had everyone familiar with greetings and how to say farewell in Aboriginal.

Local didgeridoo musician and former Westport High student, Steve Donovan, was joined by a group of student dancers who provided the entertainment.

Auntie Linda Olive, who is the Aboriginal Liaison Officer at District Office, assisted Mr Anderson in presenting the award certificates to the 26 students nominated for a variety of achievements.

A number of Aboriginal parents attended the assembly and some stayed to participate in the day's activities.

Students in the junior school participated in cultural workshops in beading and weaving, Aboriginal dot art, cooking and Aboriginal games. At recess and lunchtime barbecues the beef and kangaroo sausages followed by lemon and myrtle cookies proved very popular.

Organising head teacher Ben Johnson was very pleased with how well the day's celebrations went.

"It was great to see some parents there and some stayed to help out," Mr Johnson said.

"The day was a huge success. The dot art on boomerangs was of a very high standard and will now go on display."

He said some students were wearing the jewellery they made with their own hands.

"Our dancers performed skilfully even though they hadn't had a lot of practice," Mr Johnson said.

"We'll do it all again next year."

Westport High students begin term three by acknowledging NAIDOC Week with a formal school assembly and a day of activities.

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